If you’re preparing for CLAT, Current Affairs play a significant role in securing a good score. So, you need to be updated with the daily current affairs and current happeni
ngs across the globe. Here is a list of some legal current affairs that took place this week.
1. US Bill on Rare Earth supplies
The United States Government has recently proposed a bill to end China’s “chokehold” on rare–earth metal supplies.
Why the bill?
The rare–earth metals are used in almost every latest technology, starting from electric batteries to fighter jets. China has a strong chokehold on all these metals. In 2019, 80% of the US rare–earth metals were from China.
Aim of the bill
The bill aims to reduce the Chinese dependence on rare–earth metals. This is essential to protect the US from the threat of rare–earth metal supply disruption. It will encourage the residents to increase domestic production of the rare – earth metals. Ultimately it will reduce the US reliance on China.
Features of the bill
- The bill urges the creation of a strategic reserve for rare earth metals. The reserve shall be maintained by the Department of Defence and Interiors. The reserve shall serve the needs of the tech sector, the US army, and other essential infrastructural needs.
- The capacity of the reserve should suffice American rare–earth metal needs for a period of one year.
- It has requested the Commerce Department to conduct an investigation on unfair trade practices of China.
- The bill aims to provide higher transparency on the origin of the components.
- It also restricts the use of Chinese rare–earth metals in sophisticated defense equipment.
Rare Earth Metals
The rare earth metals are the 17 metals in the periodic table. They are the 15 lanthanides and scandium and yttrium. They are mainly used in high-tech devices such as mobile phones, flat-screen monitors and televisions, electric and hybrid vehicles. They are also essential in defense applications such as radar, lasers, sonar systems, and electronic displays.
In 1993, the US accounted for 38% of world rare earth production, and China contributed 33%. Now China contributes to 97% of rare earth metal production in the world.
2. J&K Agricultural Land Regulations 2022
The Administration of Jammu and Kashmir recently notified Jammu and Kashmir Agricultural Land (Conversion for Non-Agricultural Purposes) Regulations 2022.
Legalities of the rules
The rules were notified under the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Act, Samvat 1996.
- The agricultural land can be used for a non – agricultural purpose only after taking permission from the district collector. The collector will have to get recommendations from the district-level committee.
- The party seeking permission has to deposit a requisite fee.
- The land shall be used only for the purpose included in the permit. It shall not be used for other purposes.
- The applicant should start the work within one year of getting permission. Failing to do so, the permission will lapse. The collector shall extend the permission after one year for unavoidable reasons. However, the maximum limit to such permission is two years.
- The application shall be filed online in the exclusive portal.
- After getting the application, the district collector forwards it to revenue field agencies. A copy of the application should also be sent to the power department, jal shakti department, National Highway of India, irrigation flood control, airport authority, railway authority. All these departments should provide a “No Objection Certificate”.
- After receiving the No Objection Certificate, the collector holds a meeting with the District Level Committee. The committee makes recommendations based on the genuineness of the claim made by the project.
About the District Level Committee
It meets on a weekly basis. It notifies the general public about the project and its proceedings. It also notifies the general public about the applicants. The committee should consider court cases filed against the changes in land use.
Role of District Collector
After taking the recommendations from the committee, the collector communicates the deficiencies of the project with the applicant. He will also pass on the comments and decisions taken over the project. This is done in a prescribed time frame. The time period to decide on an application is around 30 days.
3. MHA Advisory on Transgender Persons in Prisons
On January 10, 2022, the Ministry of home affairs (MHA) has released an advisory on transgender persons in prisons.
What advisory has been issued?
- Ministry has asked prison authorities to make arrangements inside the jails in order to recognize the identity of transgender inmates and their rights are not discriminated.
- It has asked prisons chiefs and state governments to create separate wards or enclosures and earmark separate shower & toilets facilities for transwomen and transmen in order to preserve their right to privacy and dignity of the inmates.
- While making provision for a separate ward or enclosure for transgender prisoners, authorities have been advised to take due care so that it may not result in complete isolation or propagate social stigma among transgender prisoners.
- Ministry advises respecting the self-identity of transgender persons at all times while conducting admission procedures, frisking, clothing, medical examination, treatment & care inside prisons, and requisitioning of a police escort. Thus, the ministry asked prisons to facilitate the process of acquiring the transgender identity certificate.
- It further asked ‘transgender’ to include as a category in the prison register and electronic records.
- The prison authorities have also been asked to provide health care facilities and arrange a meeting with family & legal advisors at par with other prisoners.
Training for staff
Ministry has also asked the prison chiefs to train and brief the staff about protecting the rights of transgender persons.
Under what Act was the advisory issued?
The advisory was issued in accordance with the “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019”. The Act came into effect from January 2020.
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019
- The Act provides for the recognition of identity of transgender persons.
- It protects them from discrimination.
- It also includes them in education, social security, health facilities, and other welfare measures taken by the government.
NCRB on transgender
As per National Crime Records Bureau, there were 70 transgender prisoners in jails across India in 2020.
4. Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) – Recent Developments
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked to further extend the deadline of framing the rules of “Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019”.
- MHA sought an extension from parliamentary committees in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.
- Third and the latest extension expired on January 9, but MHA failed to notify the rules.
Why MHA make separate requests?
MHA has to make separate requests to two committees. Earlier, Ministry had sought time till April 9, 2021. It was then extended to July 9, 2021, by the committees to notify the rules.
Under what rule extension is given?
Manual on Parliamentary Work contains provisions for extension. It says, in case the Ministries or Departments failed to frame rules within six months after legislation is passed, they can seek an extension of time from the Committee on Subordinate Legislation”, stating reasons for the move. The time can be extended for three months at a time.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019
- CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019. The President gave his assent on December 12, 2019.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs had notified in January 2020 that the Act would be implemented from January 10, 2020. However, the same was postponed amid the covid-19 pandemic.
- The Act seeks to provide citizenship to the six undocumented non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh on the basis of religion. They would be provided citizenship if they entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
- It also exempts the members of these six communities from any criminal case under the Passport Act, 2920 and Foreigners Act, 1946, if they entered India before December 31, 2014.
Why was the law criticized?
CAA was criticized because it does not grant such eligibility to Muslims from the three Muslim-majority countries. Furthermore, religion had been used overtly for the first time as a criterion for citizenship under Indian law.
5. CCI Probe on Google
The Competition Commission of India recently ordered an investigation against Google for its dominance in news. Most of the online traffic of news websites comes from Google. The accusations made are as follows:
Violation of Law
Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002, deals with the abuse of dominant position. That is, no individual businessman or entity should misuse its domination in the field. Google is using its dominance in the news genre to intervene in advertising plans of the news channels.
According to CCI, Google is protecting its position by mishandling its dominance. Several news channels are dependent on Google for their traffic. This makes Google an indispensable trade partner.
Who filed the complaint?
The complaint against Google was filed by Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA). According to DNPA, Google is holding a monopoly. Google makes unilateral decisions about the money paid to the news publishers. The amount is decided based on the traffic. The traffic of sites occurring on the first search page is more. And it is Google that decides which website should appear on the first page.
Google never shares its revenue generated through advertising on websites or other news channels. Only a meager part is displayed.
Despite generating credible news, news websites face a loss of advertising revenue. The advertisers and the news channels have no choice. They will have to accept Google’s Terms and Conditions.
What is the Advertising Issue?
When the user types a word in the Google search bar, the search engine lists web pages related to the word. This listing is created based on the algorithm designed by Google. Higher rankings in the listing fetch greater ad revenue for the websites. According to the news websites, Google is not transparent in disclosing the algorithm. None can question Google about this algorithm. The websites have to compulsorily accept the terms and conditions decided by Google. Therefore, the ad revenue generation of the new websites lies in the hands of Google and not with the company.
Stay tuned for more Legal Current Affairs and other law related articles.